Technology Lets Everyone Be Their Own BrokerDealer blog update courtesy of

One app is making it their mission to let everyone become their very own BrokerDealer with the use of their iPhone.

Robinhood, an iOS app that is going live in the App Store on Thursday. Robinhood uses swipes and taps to make trading stocks feel more like checking your email. Available just on iPhones (for now), the app re-imagines the brokerage as a mobile-only enterprise that fits in your pocket, where you keep the rest of your money. Whether making trades as accessible as Facebook updates is a good idea or not, the era of Touch-ID trading has arrived.

“We think it’s not a particularly engaging activity for a lot of people,” Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt says of investing in the stock market. That alienation afflicts people in their 20s especially, Bhatt says. “If people don’t think about their finances and get involved with building a financial trajectory early in life, it’s kind of a substantial problem.”

In its run-up to launch, Robinhood has amassed a waitlist of a half-million would-be users, according to Bhatt.

Ease of access and understanding is meant to make Robinhood compulsively engaging for a new generation of investors that don’t find the stock market very accessible from the mobile screens at the center of their lives. It took me five minutes to sign up for an account, including a simple username-and-password interface for linking my bank account—no blank checks or routing numbers. The only lag time so far is waiting for the money to transfer into my trading account, which could take up to three business days, according to the app. Accounts do not require a minimum (1)

“As soon as people made one trade, we saw that they became daily users of the app,” co-founder Vlad Tenev says of Robinhood’s beta testers. On average, they started opening the app an average of twenty times per week, he says. “It’s more similar to looking at your email or your Twitter than, say, a banking or finance app.”

As the product develops over time, Bhatt says Robinhood will include features inspired by behavioral economics to nudge users toward smarter ways of managing their money.

But more important than teaching, he says, is letting new entrants to the market learn for themselves, to feel like their money is their own to use, move, and manage. “There’s just something very, very satisfying feeling like I have my investments right there in my pocket.”
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